The signals now being emitted by Crawford Broadcasting Corporation are becoming increasingly stronger and clearer: digital automation is here and Crawford is in the forefront of this cutting-edge radio technology.
At first glance, nothing could have seemed more natural. Crawford, which owns 30 radio stations in 14 markets in the United States, has made a strong commitment to tomorrow's format for radio broadcasting by installing next generation technology today at its stations.
In the initial step, Crawford has installed five NexGen Digital Broadcasting systems manufactured by Prophet Systems Innovations (PSi), of Ogallala, Nebraska, a leading supplier of digital audio software and equipment.
NexGen systems, sophisticated programming control centers that store and process audio data, are installed and fully-functional at Crawford Broadcasting "clusters" in Denver (KLZ, KLDC, KLVZ, KLTT), Chicago (WVJM, WYBA, WYCA), Detroit (WMUZ, WEXL, WLLZ) and two in Birmingham, Alabama (WDJC, WLGS and at WYDE).
The good news, says Cris Alexander, Crawford corporate director of engineering, is "NexGen was created for radio broadcasting people by radio broadcasting people, not by computer programmers and manufacturers." The even better news, says Ed Dulaney, group chief engineer at Crawford's Denver "cluster", is "NexGen is so simple to use that even a trained monkey could use it successfully."
This (NexGen digital automation system) could be the start of something big for us (at Crawford). That's the way management executives at Crawford are talking. Such talk may be the result of momentary euphoria, of course. However, an industry trend is emerging as the conversion of radio stations' production operations from the old analog technology to digital increases at an accelerated pace.
Crawford was on-the-air with its first NexGen system in March at its Denver "cluster," and then rolled-out its NexGen installation program into Chicago, Detroit and, in August, in Birmingham with two systems.
The consensus at Crawford indicates that "NexGen makes our operation and programming one of the most technologically advanced" in the broadcast industry and "saves time, saves money and increases operation efficiency."
"When NexGen works perfectly, and it works perfectly about 99 percent of the time, then it's an "invisible" technology," Alexander said. "By "invisible" I mean the technology blends into our operation without muss or fuss."
There are very occasional hiccups, according to Alexander, but I'm extremely satisfied with the system, its functions, and its operational efficiency. Dulaney added, "Our staff was trained after one session and completely versed with its operation, functions and capabilities after a second training period."
Crawford Broadcasting was started in 1938 by Percy Crawford, who began his broadcasting career in 1932 by producing the first religious network radio program heard on the Mutual Radio Network. Don Crawford Sr., Percy's son, is president of the company, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Don Crawford Jr., is executive director, headquartered in Denver.
On the cutting-edge of radio broadcast technology, Prophet Systems Innovations, a leading supplier of digital audio software, offers next generation audio products manufactured to specific requirements for expansion and growing capabilities in the broadcasting industry.